Sister Act

Date 29th March 2022
Society Maidstone Amateur Operatic Society
Venue Hazlitt theatre Maidstone
Type of Production Musical
Director Tony Cassidy
Musical Director John Mills
Choreographer Katy Russell

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Author: Gordon Harris

Big, glitzy and sassy numbers are the toast of Maidstone this week. There’s only one thing better? Big, glitzy numbers . . . with nuns! "Sister Act" has plenty of both -"Take Me to Heaven" and ‘Fabulous Baby’ turn into disco epics, the latter building up to an ecstatic finale. Alan Menken and lyricist Glenn Slater take from Motown, soul and funk, to disco and even a little jokey Barry White. Menken and Slater know how to switch up the mood and tempo, their "Take Me to Heaven" transforms from a Donna Summer-like number at the beginning to a religious hymn at the end.

Sister Act certainly shadows the Whoopi Goldberg film of the same name in 1992. The show, in my opinion, is better than the film, it has more original musicality, the film was a compilation of hit songs, and this score makes it fresh. Director Tony Cassidy, Musical Director John Mills, and Choreographer Katy Russell certainly took this production to a high standard, choosing a great cast and directing them both in acting and singing and along with simple movement in dance, just what is needed for Nuns well done Katy.

A superb orchestra, positioned behind the set, gave us a good balance of sounds very professional sound. With seasoned and accomplished director Tony Cassidy at the helm who could ask for more. Heather Newman showed huge promise as Deloris Van Cartier she really carried the show. Her energy is amazing, as is her voice. Among the other standout performances were Debbie Brennan as the Mother Superior, Ashleigh Smith, what a voice and acting ability this young lady has, perfect as Sister Mary Robert, Kathryn Norman, Julie Argent and Anna Honeysett as Sister Mary Patrick, Sister Mary Lazarus and Sister Martin-of-Tours gave us the comedy from the nuns. Julie’s rapping was a true comedy treat.

I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the male characters as the performances by the females were so powerful; the male actors seemed to fight for attention, and fight they did, in a show that is by dominated by great female roles.The gang of the nasties lead by David Rowe as Curtis, Barry Shyvers as TJ, Chris Chedzey as Pablo and Richard Hillier as Joey gave a side splitting ”When I find my baby” - hilarious. I loved David Waller as Eddie (Sweaty Eddie) perfect characterisation and his song ‘I could have been that guy’ was so good. David Rowe, now a stalwart of the theatre, I have seen it all now David, a gun-toting gangster? Another stalwart of MAOS, Mike Codling, gave a reverend performance as Monsignor O’Hara. These were all backed up with cameo performances from Becky Prince, Steph Beeken, Graham Hazelden and the Drag Queen J Daniel Benjamin, who I think has walked in heels before Sister Act..? And of course the Nuns and the Male Chorus. All made this Sister Act a splendid evening at the theatre.